No, it wasn't The Bloody Chamber...
October 30, 2010 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Yet another question about a book from one's childhood. Mission: Help me find this anthology of "bawdy" fairy tales.

As a kid going to a Baptist school, our school library was a small and you had to make of it what you could. Amidst the mutilated copies of National Geographics (made safe for kids with scissors) and Frank Peretti books you sometimes found some interesting gems.

I remember one time coming across a really thick (like very thick) paperback anthology of fairy tales and at the time I was big on myths and fairy tales. During my visits to the non-school libraries I had been reading drier academic stuff on it, so finding this book in the school library seemed like a total score since these reinterpretations (there were some classics in there too that weren't too tweaked with) were closer to the stories I'd been reading about with all their brutality and starting out as stories adults told each other and whatnot. The title was simple too with "Fairy Tales" in it I believe. The cover was a bluish grayish light color.

The stories I remember from this anthology include:

-A version of Cinderella, where she's actually the daughter of a witch who was executed, biding her time to get her revenge. It wasn't fairy godmothers who helped her, but demons that bathed her and got her dressed. And the whole importance of the clock striking 12 was changed to the Witching Hour or some such. Had kind of a Masque of Red Death kind of thing going for it.

-Another was a version of Snow White told from the perspective of the Prince. The prince was conflicted about the whole thing, and Snow White was sort of portrayed as a rude and lewd. Throughout the whole thing the prince was realizing how he actually felt sympathy for the queen (possibly bordering on love), and clearly remembered iron shoes incident and felt guilty about it, and in the ending climax at the queen's funeral (Snow White was off somewhere shagging the priest or another guest), he sort of just breaks, and kisses the queen's corpse. I just vividly remember his describing the cold powdery taste of her lips.

-A Red Riding Hood story that was really short and written really modern, almost stream of consciousness. The details escape me except for the fact that Snow White blows the wolf away with an arsenal of weapons she has at her disposal.

-A Beauty and the Beast story where the Beast was a tiger, and in the end Beauty turns into a tiger.

So I Googled my hardest based on the following descriptions of stories and I did figure out that the final story is one written by Angela Carter. So I got a copy of "The Bloody Chamber," but while still an awesome book, this isn't the book I'm thinking of and the Googling continues, but without much luck at all since I can't remember any exact titles or authors. The one from my memory was HUGE. It was very thick. like easily 1000 pages or more thick. Please help!
posted by kkokkodalk to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Was it the paperback version of one of Maria Tatar's books? The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales has tons of stories, and The Classic Fairy Tales has the specific tales you mentioned (Snow White, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast , written by Angela Carter and called The Tiger's Bride). Both have over 400 pages in the hardback editions.
posted by iconomy at 11:33 AM on October 30, 2010

Was it perhaps this Norton anthology? It has Angela Carter's 'The Tiger's Bride' in it.
posted by mayhap at 11:34 AM on October 30, 2010

Best answer: It sounds like your first story might be Tanith Lee's When the Clock Strikes. If so, that will help narrow down your search for the anthology.
posted by Elsa at 12:03 PM on October 30, 2010

The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales?
posted by box at 12:21 PM on October 30, 2010

How long ago was your childhood?
posted by wayland at 12:23 PM on October 30, 2010

Response by poster: First off, fantastic leads so far, everyone. And thanks very much, mayhap. That is indeed the Cinderella story I read in the book.

Wayland: We're talking around early to mid 90s, here, when I was around 6th grade to middle school age.
posted by kkokkodalk at 12:35 PM on October 30, 2010

('The Tiger's Bride' is also anthologized in Wild Women: Contemporary Short Stories From Women Celebrating Women. I don't think that's the answer, though.

If you have access to Worldcat (e.g., through a public or academic library), you can see the other anthologies which include 'The Tiger's Bride'--aside from stuff already mentioned, it's mostly just multiple editions of the Carter and Tatar books, though.)
posted by box at 12:45 PM on October 30, 2010

Response by poster: Elsa's answer was the key to the puzzle (sorry for calling you mayhap earlier). Thanks to the additional author/title info I was able to dig this up on Google.

I looked through the listings and this book is definitely it. It has the violent Red Riding Hood story, the necrophiliac prince Snow White variation, as well as the now-identified Tiger's Bride and When the Clock Strikes.

But thanks to everyone for the other suggestions as well. The Norton anthology looks pretty amazing and I might look into buying that as well.
posted by kkokkodalk at 12:51 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tanith Lee has your Cinderella story in "Red as Blood", which isn't the book you're looking for, but it's exactly like the book you like and you should read it too.
posted by Phalene at 4:42 PM on October 30, 2010

« Older Help me get the glue off my table   |   Optical illusion font? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.